Archives: Banished Words 1995
World Of Politics!
Columnist Bob Cudmore of The Record in Albany, NY,
recently wrote: Banish liberal or at least have it
declared an obscenity, which is what the word had become.
Its probably better today to be called a Marxist, a
Commie, a pinko, a fellow-traveler or a useful idiot
liberal was deemed obscene by academics and dictionary-makers,
maybe conservative talk show hosts, callers, commentators
and politicians would be less likely to use the word
then, instead of deploring an idea as liberal,
conservative speakers would have to explain why they are
The definition of family values has
come to mean anything that fits into the right-wing
fundamentalists agenda. If you dont fit into
that narrow category, you dont have family
values. Michelle Barrerbec, Central Lake,
Do politicians know any other word to describe
those with whom they disagree? Rick Morrow, Sault
Ste. Marie, Ont.
Put this in the Tired Metaphor Category: The
senator hopes his constituents will embrace
the idea. To what degree can we expect the physical
(metaphorical) action? A mild hug? A gut-wrenching
emotion? Enough already! Im claustrophobic as it is!
Tom Tucker, Grass Lake, Mich.
Shawn J. Hunter, Heritage High School, Saginaw, Mich.
A delightful combination of oxymoron and
mixed metaphor. Leonard Wheat, Alexandria,
Pretty Bad (Or
pretty ugly) Nicole Crawford, St. Martin De Porres
High School, Detroit, Mich.
The favorite nomination which seems to have escaped the
list until this year. Tanya Dugree, Kingsford High
School, Kingsford, Mich.
Another one which escaped banishment in years past.
Bill Bloemendaal, Holland, Mich.
No Parking At Any Time
Nominated by George Drury or Milwaukee, Wisc., who
gave special mention to that Milwaukee favorite:
Temporary No Parking Any Time.
I feel You Pain
Where does it hurt? Troy Voth, Great Lakes
Adventist Academy, Cedar Lake, Mich.
Used to describe a tie-breaking period in sporting
but losing the sudden death
contest is seldom fatal. Why not call it a sudden victory
(loss) period? Tim Hall, Sault Ste. Marie,
To Die For
I love food, but to die for? If
something is that good, shouldnt it be: to
live for? Lyn Satiskey, Raleigh, N.C.
Overused in the news and elsewhere. Two oxymorons
showed up on the same prime-time news broadcast:
humanitarian disaster and humanitarian one is the best
kind. Bill Fitzpatrick, Namaimo, B.C.,
Canada (Editors Note: Weve also included
Humanitarian Aid for its redundancy value. If
one gives aid, that person is most likely to be a
My Plate Is Full
Meaning I have a busy schedule.
Variations include I have enough on my plate,
or I have too much on my plate. So eat,
already! Ken Behrens, WJBC Radio, Rock Island, Ill.
Wheres my map? Can I pull over for
directions? How about a bathroom stop? Are we there yet?
Peter Warner, CJOB Radio, Winnipeg, Man., Canada
readers nominated expressions that misuse the word percent:
Im 150 Percent Behind
You Perpetuates the greed so
apparent in our society completely isnt
enough! Linda Schwind, English Chair, St.
Martin De Porres High School, Detroit, Mich.
Such as the claims made by certain advertisers about
their products. Either its pure, or it isnt.
Wayne Montgomery, Goulais River, Ont., Canada
in soft markets, when describing a particular
commodity with poor sales. Does this mean the steel
market will be hard when sales increase?
Sounds as if the executives are trying to soften
the news to shareholders if you ask me. Ron
Bedford, Algoma Steel Ltd., Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
Nominated by an exasperated Charles Rufino of Dix Hills,
Pushing the Envelope
This one is enough to make stamps come unglued.
Listener of Peter Warner, CJOB
The word medal is a noun
misuse of this word by Olympic reporters had become even
more common. In addition, I was stunned to learn from one
of the Detroit sports reports that the USA athlete who
medalled in the downhill ski competition also
silvered. Perhaps the athlete was dipped in
a large vat of silver compound for that winning metallic
glow? Karen Gooze, Westland, Mich.
the number of people who use given. I must
give in after much give-and-take debate and request that
we give the heave-ho to given with respect to
the given usage, even though it may be a
given a severe blow to their given
that some people will be given a severe blow
to their given conversational styles.
Bob Tulloch, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
Warm Fuzzy Feeling
An expression used to describe a feel-good-about-everything-and-everybody
state of mind, but sounds more like the result of having
swallowed a gerbil. Michael McQuade, Sault
Ste. Marie, Mich.
When referring to disabled people as physically-challenged
or others who dont fit into the homogenous mold of
average. Whats next? Why not classify
short or tall people as vertically-challenged,
or refer to homeless people as habitat-challenged?
Lets provide warm hats for the follicly-challenged,
How about vocabulary-challenged for the
people who come up with these ridiculous euphemisms?
Anonymous, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
I always wonder where these products come from: a
post-mortem, perhaps? A. Kozlowicz, Dept. Chair,
Roseville High School, Roseville, Mich. (Also
nominated were post-modern, post-feminist, post-pubescent,
post-shave healer, post-Cold War, post-boomers, and
the post-thing. You get the idea: post in now
Michele Mooney of Los Angeles sent us this abbreviation
for post-modern from a dictionary of L.A.-speak. Its
listed as a noun, with the following example: That
mini-mall is a po-mo mess. Honest. Michele sent us
eight pages of examples which she had clipped from
newspapers and magazines in L.A., where she says
everything is referred to as either pre- or post-riots.
One of the most-nominated words this
year was sucks,
as in this sucks, that sucks,
someone or something sucks. Most of the
nominations came from high school students and their
teachers. Here are some of their comments:
This X-rated personification
has become the negative of choice among anal-retentives
of the world. It must be crushed like the verbal plague
it is. Shawn Tooley, Daniel Cross (students)
and A.T. Sutton (instructor) of Western High School,
Good profanity is becoming
harder to find. Anonymous high school
teacher or student from Kalamazoo.
It is lazy response, said Rick Fowler,
Boyne City High School English Teacher. He said students
seem to believe that all required subjects suck.